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WEEKEND WEB: Military Medalist among those killed at war

Sgt Harry Peake, who was killed in action in 1918.
Sgt Harry Peake, who was killed in action in 1918.

We look back at the Lincs Free Press this week in 1918 - in the final year of the First World War

There was more tragic news from the battlefield 100 years ago this week.

Spalding Military Medallist Sgt Harry Peake, 26, was one of those killed in action.

He left behind a young widow, Edith.

A friend and comrade broke the news to the sergeant’s family by letter.

The friend said: “Harry has been killed in action, having been shot in the stomach whilst doing his duty as a brave soldier.

“He was my closest chum all through his period of soldiering, and he was one of the best.

“He was looked up to by every man in his platoon, and he will be greatly missed, as he was a lad that everyone who had any connection with him was always ready to do anything for, and he for them.”

Sgt Peake originally joined the Royal Engineers, before being transferred to the Cheshires.

In August 1917, he was awarded the Military Medal for bravery after returning during a retreat and rescuing a comrade who he did not know.

His comrade’s leg had been blown off and Sgt Peake carried him for 500 yards (457 metres) through heavy fire.

The sergeant was said to have been one of the best shots in his regiment and won a prize in every shooting contest.

In civilian life, the popular soldier was employed in his father’s business and was a talented sportsman.

We also reported the death of rifleman S C White, the only son of Mr and Mrs W White, of Spalding.

From Weston, Pte J A Smith was killed in action while on the front line during a German offensive.

Pte Harry Johnson, son-in-law of Mr and Mrs J Sellers, of Gosberton, was reported as having been killed. He left behind a widow and a young boy.


We were recounting further stories from those fighting the enemy. Pictures showed British Artillery soldiers stemming the ‘on rush’ of German storm troops.

Batteries fought until the enemy had surrounded them, and then fought their way out carrying breech blocks with them.

Another photo showed British and French infantry firing on the enemy, crouched in a shallow trench, or sprawled with rifle poised.

One general said: “In little more than a week, the enemy hurled against our 3rd and 5th armies more than 1,500,000 men in a fury of attack....Once more the British Army stood in the breach in a defence...of heroism and glory.”


In a column giving tips on recipes and nutrition in the Free Press, top suggested meals included sausage and potato rolls, brown fish stew, spiced oatmeal pudding and marrowfat peas with cress sauce.


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